15 Great Home Projects to Tackle While You're Quarantined
Experts share DIY ideas and cleaning tips to help pass the time while you're stuck at home.
When you're spending so much time at home, the same old, same old can start to get a little, well, old. So, why not do something productive with your living space if you're going to be stuck there for awhile? These home projects can be anything you no longer have an excuse for putting off—from giving your space a good deep cleaning to taking action on some fun redecorating ideas that you've been kicking around for what seems like forever now. With that in mind, here are a few tasks to take on during quarantine that will help you pass the time, all while giving your space an easy, much-needed update.
Build a DIY window box.
Brad Roberson, president of Glass Doctor, says that building a window box is a quick and simple way to "add curb appeal" to your home. His company has a step-by-step guide you can use, and when you're finished, plant flowers to "liven up your living space" and "add a touch of warmth." The best part? You can do this kind of gardening at eye-level, without needing to bend down and get dirty, says Roberson.
Change up your photos.
If you're not used to spending so much time indoors, you probably have a few picture frames that could use some updating. Chris Michaels, founder of Frugal Reality, says he and his family took this time to take down photos from their walls and counters to switch out for new ones.
"We rotated frames and also went through our digital photo library and ordered updated photos," he says. "I ordered mine for local pickup but others can have the photos mailed directly to their home."
Start a kitchen garden.
New to gardening? No worries! You can start with simple things you already own in your kitchen. Beans and peas make "excellent introductory plants," according to Sarah Barnard, design expert and member of the American Society of Interior Designers.
"They are easy to grow and go from seed to crop in one growing season," she says. "Because many peas and beans grow vertically, this is also a great way to maximize a small garden plot." And for more things you should know about gardening, check out the 15 Ways You're Destroying Your Garden.
Swap out the knobs on your cabinets and drawers.
If you're looking to make an easy, personalized change to your home, Alessandra Wood, vice president of style at Modsy, recommends changing out the hardware on your drawers and cabinets. You can find interesting options online or at your local hardware store. One tip she says to keep in mind is to choose knobs that "match the same hole configuration" that's currently on your furniture, so that you don't have to drill any new ones. Other than that, all you need is a screwdriver!
Change out your air vents.
No, we're not talking about replacing the filters in your air vents—although you should do that every one to three months depending on your type of filter. But you can also add a "cool decorative look" to any room by replacing the actual vent cover, says Mark Cutler, an interior designer based in Los Angeles. Many people keep their air vents as is, but they are usually pretty boring and can be a dated eyesore in an otherwise modern home. Cutler recommends using Amazon to find some modern air vent covers that you can order and ship to your home during quarantine. And for more things you should be replacing, check out the 17 Gross Household Items You Should Replace More Often.
Paint an accent wall in smaller rooms.
Has quarantine got you feeling a little cooped up? Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, says creating an accent wall can help "make your space feel bigger."
Unsure of which color to go with? "I recommend choosing a color that makes you feel happy, but also complements your furniture, décor, and design style," she says. "I love pewter green SW 6208 when it's painted on a wall of built-ins because it's a bold yet warm hue that sets it apart from the rest of the room."
Repurpose your old furniture.
If your home is feeling a bit overwhelming and unorganized, lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner, known for her home-design tips, says you can bring a bit of organization to your home by repurposing old furniture that you no longer use. In her own home, Blanner says what was once an end table is now a bookshelf; an old three drawer chest became a place to store hats, sunscreen, and keys; and a trunk previously without a purpose now serves as a place for family heirlooms.
Freshen up your baseboards.
Keep yourself busy while in quarantine by "giving your baseboards a fresh coat of paint," says Ashley Peeling, regional marketing manager at CLV Group.
"If you've never done it before, you'll be surprised to see the many scuffs and general wear and tear your baseboards have taken over the years," she says. "It's also a job that won't stink up your house since it's such a small amount of paint being used, as opposed to painting an entire room."
Get rid of all the old paint you don't need.
Now is as good a time as any to clear out all those old half-filled containers of expired paint taking up space and making a mess in your garage. To safely discard typical latex paint, Katy Winter, founder of professional organizing company Katy's Organized Home, says to remove the lid, allow the remaining paint to dry up, and then throw it in the trash. If you want to recycle the paint can, however, put the remaining paint in some other kind of disposal container to dry up before tossing it out.
Clean your refrigerator coils.
According to Ron Shimek, president of Mr. Appliance, cleaning your refrigerator coils—located either on the back or bottom of your appliance—falls on the list of things you probably haven't done in a while, but need to.
"Cleaning the coils helps the fridge run more efficiently, which helps it last longer and decreases operating costs," Shimek says. "Wherever the coils are located, clean them with the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner." And for more ways you can save money, check out The Home Appliances Killing Your Energy Bill.
Bring some greenery inside.
Taking a trip to your local plant nursery is a good way to get some fresh air and support local businesses during quarantine, says Shawn Breyer, owner of Atlanta House Buyers. He also notes that you most likely won't be exposed to large crowds or closed spaces, as most nurseries keep plants outside. Just make sure to choose the plants best suited for your living environment.
"If you have bad allergies, don't buy flowering plants, but do buy air purifying plants," Breyer says. "If your home is dark because you keep your blinds shut then don't buy plants that need full sun, buy plants that thrive in the shade." Regardless of your lifestyle, Breyer says that "you can find plants that can enhance your life and well-being."
Upcycle old kitchen supplies into plant pots.
Need somewhere to store all that new (or old) greenery? Gather up any unused saucepans or ceramic containers and give them a new life as plant pots, says Emma, cofounder of GardenZoo.
"Their hard surface means they can withstand the weather and painting them in a bright color is a fun activity for the whole family," she says. "Also remember to add a few drainage holes in the bottom before repotting your plants."
Soundproof your working space.
You may not be working from home for forever, but putting some nice touches on your at-home work space can help you now, and in the future. Eugene Soko, founder of Better Soundproofing, says you can easily, and affordably, soundproof your home office using materials you might already have.
"Hang some heavy blankets, curtains, or even a sleeping bag on partition walls to muffle sound transfer," says Soko. "For renters, hanging blankets on the wall won't leave irreparable damage. You can use moving blankets or thick velour or blackout curtain," which he says are all available online, reasonably priced, and effective.
Try out a new tile on your bathroom floor.
Let's face it, ripping out a tile floor is not an easy task. But what if you could try out a new look without all that time-consuming labor? Caroline Harmon, trend strategy manager at Lowe's, says peel and stick tile gives you that exact opportunity, without having to decide if you're really "in it for the long haul."
Organize your piles of paperwork.
If you're like most people, you have a whole mess of important paperwork stacked somewhere in your home. The only issue is that because it's so unorganized, you can never actually find a particularly document when you need to. Tori Cohen, otherwise known as Tori the Organizer, says now's the time to rectify that problem.
"Go file by file and separate recycling from shredding (anything with your social security number or account number)," she says. "If you don't already have them, create piles for different categories and put a sticky note next to the pile to keep track of what's where, and make a pile for each family member." Finally, she says, "use a filing cabinet or file box to put things back."